Energy Assistance Programs

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Families get help with weatherization, energy assistance

Community Action programs are for low-income families. Documentation of income, address and the number of families' members will be required to determine eligibility for services. Jack Elliott, weatherization program manager, said that over the years hundreds of families have been helped through the programs. Their focus is elderly, disabled or families with children. Each home that is weatherized first undergoes an energy audit and safety check where things like carbon dioxide emissions are tested. Things that can be done during the weatherization include insulation, furnace and water heater replacement and other measures to lower utility costs like installing compact fluorescent light bulbs and low-flow shower heads. After the work is done, Elliott said the energy auditors return for a final inspection and then educates the family about energy-saving measures. "A big part of this is helping the homeowners save money but even more important is the health and safety factor," he said. "We want to make sure everything is safe. And this also helps reduce the amount of fossil fuels being used." Data have shown that homes that have been weatherized through CICAP save about 20 percent on energy costs, he said. The Skinners said the work done was impeccable and they were treated kindly by those with CICAP and those doing the work. "It is a good program for people who have given to the community in the past but are unable to do for themselves now," Judith Skinner said. "Everyone has a need sometime and it is nice to know there is a program there to help you during that time of need." Donnelly said the Family Development aspect of CICAP is intensive case-management programs that assist families in moving toward self-sufficiency. CICAP has certified Family Development counselors that work with a family to identify areas of their lives needing improve and develop plans to move the family forward. Utility assistance is a heating and cooling program and requires eligibility be established every year. Payments for eligible households are made to utility vendors on the client’s behalf, Donnelly said.


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